Essay on On the Issue of Hate Speech

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Almost all Americans today have heard of the First Amendment and its protection of free speech. This protection allows a free exchange of ideas among the members of society. Without it, Americans would not be able to voice their criticisms against anything without having a fear of being arrested. However, in the past, the government has limited this fundamental right several times. During World War I, Charles Schenck passed out fliers criticizing the national draft. He was arrested, and the Supreme Court decided that his arrest was acceptable because his actions posed 'clear and present danger'. Other limits exist on libel and slander. Now, with these limits enacted in the past, and with a growing multicultural society in America, a debate …show more content…
Almost all Americans today have heard of the First Amendment and its protection of free speech. This protection allows a free exchange of ideas among the members of society. Without it, Americans would not be able to voice their criticisms against anything without having a fear of being arrested. However, in the past, the government has limited this fundamental right several times. During World War I, Charles Schenck passed out fliers criticizing the national draft. He was arrested, and the Supreme Court decided that his arrest was acceptable because his actions posed 'clear and present danger'. Other limits exist on libel and slander. Now, with these limits enacted in the past, and with a growing multicultural society in America, a debate on a certain issue has slowly increased. Should hate speech be protected as free speech, or should it be suppressed?
Hate speech is defined as "an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like" (“Hate Speech Law & Legal Definition” definitions.uslegal.com). Throughout history, American society has been intertwined with such speech directed towards several groups, such as African Americans, Asians, and other immigrant groups. In 1969, Clarence Brandenburg, a leader of the KKK in Ohio, was arrested under Ohio law for uttering hate speech and committing hateful actions. However, the Supreme Court, in a landmark decision named

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